A pneumatic system is a system that uses compressed air to transmit and control energy. Pneumatic systems are used in a broad range of industries, where they rely on a constant supply of compressed air to function. In this blog, we will discuss the most common pneumatic system components and their function.
The most important component in a pneumatic system is the air compressor. These draw in ambient air, compress it, and release it through the connected tubing at a required pressure. They function based on a driven motor engine. The device converts mechanical energy provided by the prime mover to the potential energy present in the compressed air. The next component is the compressed air tank. Once compressed, the air must be stored somewhere. The compressed air tank fills up with air and allows users to store it while also potentially removing contaminants and increasing the overall lifespan of the machinery with built-in maintenance systems. To extend the life of the tank’s inboard seal, an extra wear ring can be fitted. Another way to ensure the system withstands regular use is to install a filter, regulator, and lubricator combination device.
Air service units, also known as FRL modules, are another component installed after the compressor. These are designed to remove dust particles, moisture, and humidity, while also providing lubrication to ensure any air-driven tools are moving smoothly even if their oil levels are getting low. Depending on how much lubrication equipment you are working with needs, it may be beneficial to consider a standalone dedicated lubricator device. Micro mist and high-flow lubricators are ideal for meeting demanding or high-volume needs.
To transmit compressed air throughout the pneumatic system, air tubing is needed. Regardless of your system’s configuration, these tubes are an integral component. High-quality polyurethane pipes will ensure that air gets to devices as they need it with low risk of ruptures or similar problems. Nylon and polyethylene tubes are another option, and all materials are available in a broad range of sizes. If your system is also exposed to external forces, it might be a good idea to invest in specialized wear-resistant tubing to ensure it can withstand many conditions.
The next component, the valves, are used to control the direction of airflow in the circuit. There are two basic types of valves: direction control valves and flow control valves. Direction control valves are essentially switches. In a pneumatic system, they are used to control various types of actuators. Flow control valves, as their name suggests, open and close to control the flow of air through the system.
The final component of the pneumatic system is the actuators. These undergo linear, rotary, or reciprocating motion. They could be considered the component that does the ‘real’ work within the pneumatic system. Cylinders are the most common type of actuator used in pneumatic systems, though there are many other types as well. Single-acting cylinders feature one entry point for compressed air and a spring on the other side. Adversely, double-acting cylinders have two separate air inlets for compressed air located at either end of the chamber. When compressed air flows from one end, the piston is forced to move forward and push the air out of the other.
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